sovay: (Rotwang)
[personal profile] sovay
Happy autumn! Happy Bi Visibility Day! Happy centenary of the invention of Fluff, which explains why the first thing I ate today was a peanut butter and marshmallow fluff cookie: I spent the later part of my afternoon in Union Square with [personal profile] rushthatspeaks, [personal profile] gaudior, and Fox, who may or may not have liked their first taste of marshmallow but was really into a crunchy organic juice blend one of their parents was trying to drink. (Eventually they covered themselves in it. It was green. That's the first time I've seen a baby cosplay Howl's Moving Castle.) I am delighted to learn that plasmodial slime molds can share memories. I would definitely watch Dwayne Johnson as Plato. I am faceplantingly tired, but I have cats. It has not been terrible, being awake today.
destina: (other: thought cloud)
[personal profile] destina
I have six stories sitting in drafts on AO3 to be posted - two of them brand new - and they've been languishing there for weeks because I can't think of titles or summaries for them. Untitled by Destina - Doc and Wyatt get it on is not a particularly enticing gateway to my Tombstone story. What about Untitled by Destina - hey I wrote this Sinclair/Garibaldi story 12 years ago and never posted it, so you'd think I'd have thought of a great summary for it since then, wouldn't you? Sigh.

But I did post some other stuff. It's fascinating, what one finds when one goes combing through one's LJ for untitled stories and comment fic and leftover things I used to worry about people liking. I'm rolling my eyes at myself. It's a blue light special, everything must get posted, even that one Bradley/Colin fic I wrote and am...was... embarrassed by. (It doesn't have a title either, poor thing; I have to think of one by October 22 or it will vanish forever from drafts.)

Anyway, here's the stuff I did manage to make up titles for, hah! -

No Longer Bound To Rome - The Eagle, Marcus/Esca, 2,497 words.

Transparent - Merlin, the knights and Merlin, gen, 2,064 words.

Virtue - Merlin, Arthur/Merlin, 560 words.

Unexpected - Penny Dreadful, Dorian/Ethan, 602 words.

In other news, it's the most wonderful time of the year! No, I'm not talking about Yuletide, tho I guess that's okay too; I'm talking about PUMPKIN FLAVORED EVERYTHING OMG at Trader Joe's! I took my first baby steps in the New! Delightful! Pumpkiny Things! pool of treasures there today, and grabbed up some dark chocolate covered pumpkin spice granola topped with toasted pumpkin seeds, and oh yeah, it's as great as it sounds. Yaaaay pumpkin season!
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Which is creating the Amazon and Chapters links for the book being review, I know one particular book is $19.19 if you buy it from Kobo and $11.71 from Kindle....

Review: A Crime to Remember

Sep. 23rd, 2017 08:46 am
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (Default)
[personal profile] truepenny
Not about books, but definitely a review.

Hulu has episodes from 3 seasons of A Crime to Remember, which is an Investigation Discovery show. In my ongoing love/hate relationship with true crime media, ID stands out for their high production values and for about as unexploitative an attitude as you can have. (I wonder, perhaps unworthily, if part of what makes ACtR seem thoughtful rather than vulture-like is that the executive producer and a bunch of the writers & directors are women.) I have also been very fond of Homicide Hunter, partly because the show does not try to sugarcoat Lt. Joe Kenda at all. He's very good at his job, and he is a ruthless avenging angel, but he is not a nice man. I kind of adore him. (I'm pretty sure he'd hate me, but that's okay.)
But ACtR. All the episodes are period pieces. (I joked to my therapist that they must have come up with the idea because they wanted everyone to be able to smoke on camera.) I'm not super fond of the gimmick, in which every episode has a narrator who is a minor fictional character in the real crime being portrayed, but most of the time it works okay. (It works extremely well--give credit where it's due--in "The 28th Floor" (2.4).) The actors--"character" actors all--are excellent, and most of the time they even get the accents matched up to the region. (There are exceptions.) And the producers have interview clips with true crime writers who have written about the cases; with people who investigated the cases (when those people are still alive); with Mary Ellen O'Toole and other experts in various fields; with friends and family of murderers and victims alike. They frequently featured Michelle MacNamara before her death in April 2016--pretty obviously because she was very good at conveying information clearly but without sounding scripted. And, again, because they seem to look for women. They also have gotten Catherine Pelonero more than once. (I actually haven't been able to bring myself to watch the episode about Kitty Genovese, but Pelonero does a great job in the other episodes I have watched her in.)
My true, serious beef with ACtR is its insistent trope of the loss of American innocence. Almost every case is framed as something that destroyed a piece of American innocence, and this is infuriating to me for several reasons:
1. America has never been innocent.
2. The idea of the Golden Age, the before time just out of reach in which everything was perfect, is a very, very old fallacy. (The Romans were all over it.) I think it is pernicious, because it validates reactionary attempts to return to "the good old days," which are "good" (in 20th century America) only if you are white, middle-class or above, and it helps if you're male. ACtR does deal with racism, sexism, and classism, but it doesn't seem to recognize the contradictory position it puts itself in thereby.
3. Casting these crimes as destroyers of American innocence erases crimes that went before. I can give one very specific example: "Baby Come Home" (2.8) about the 1953 kidnapping and murder of Bobby Greenlease, who was murdered before his kidnappers ever tried to extort ransom from his parents. Now I am not at all denying that what happened to Bobby Greenlease is vile and horrible and an expression of the worst part of human nature, but claiming that Carl Austin Hall and Bonnie Heady somehow invented kidnapping children for ransom--or even just the worst and most cruel of bad faith negotiations after the child was already dead--erases what happened to, for one example, Charles Lindbergh, Jr. Or, for another example, Charley Ross. If there was any innocence to be lost in this particular genre of crime, it was lost in 1874, 79 years before Bobby Greenlease's death.
So, yeah. That's the one thing that I really think they get wrong. Otherwise, they do a lovely job, and they have taught me about murders I'd never heard of but I think should not be forgotten: the terrible deaths of Judge Curtis Chillingworth and his wife Marjorie in West Palm Beach in 1955; Charles Whitman's sniper assault on the students, faculty, and staff of the University of Texas in 1966 (which I knew about, but knew kind of wrongly); the bizarre murder of Betty Williams in Odessa, Texas, in 1961; the murder of Veronica Gedeon in New York in 1937, and how the case was largely solved by the editors of the true crime magazines she was a cover model for; the murder of Roseann Quinn in New York in 1973, which was the inspiration for Looking for Mr. Goodbar, and I deeply appreciate the way ACtR questions the LfMG myth and suggests that Theresa Dunn is a cruel travesty of the real Roseann Quinn and the reality of her death. If you are interested in criminology or American history (because nothing tells you more about a culture than its cause celebre murders), I commend this series to your attention.

Pursuant to the last entry

Sep. 23rd, 2017 01:20 pm
rydra_wong: The display board of a train reads "this train is fucked". (this train is fucked)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
Hope Not Hate have an excellent blog post explaining who they are and why they're going international.

We are coming to the United States because we have to. In our increasingly interconnected world, what happens here impacts on Europe. What happens in Europe has an impact on what happens in the United States.

Last year Britain voted to leave the European Union (commonly known as Brexit). This would not have been possible without the intervention of Breitbart and Cambridge Analytica. Likewise, Brexit gave Donald Trump a huge boast and convinced him and his supporters that anything was possible.

One of the main protagonists behind the Hillary Clinton conspiracy stories was Paul Joseph Watson, a 32-year-old man who lives in a flat in London. More recently, the ship charted by far right activists from across Europe in the Mediterranean was funded primarily by Americans.


From last year -- here's a Guardian piece on a Hope Not Hate workshop:

The Guardian: What does Hope not Hate actually do?

In November, I went to a Hope not Hate event at a mosque in Cardiff – a three-hour workshop on how to challenge and discuss anti-migrant and prejudiced sentiments. It drew a crowd of around 20, one or two of them local muslims and a few with migrant backgrounds, but the majority were white Welsh, many of whom had not previously been in a mosque. The organiser, Jonathan, began the session by asking what had prompted people to attend. Many described feeling worried, frustrated and in need of a toolkit for discussing race and immigration with family, friends and colleagues.

Their undercover reporter [twitter.com profile] patrik_h -- looks like a cinnamon roll, will secretly infiltrate your international white supremacist network:

https://twitter.com/patrik_h/status/910245564780081152

Dagens Nyheter: The Swede who infiltrated American Nazis

”He offered me to speak at the opening about my thesis topic: how the left has infiltrated the right. I spoke in front of 75 armed white supremacists.”

The Local.se: Meet the Swede who went undercover for a whole year with the alt-right in the US and UK

Of course, then I was scared. I mean, there was this combination of a group of young men with guns and a violent ideology. That's not a great combination.

Calamity Jane

Sep. 23rd, 2017 06:42 am
osprey_archer: (Default)
[personal profile] osprey_archer
Last night Julie & I watched Calamity Jane, because we both saw the same tumblr post about how it’s super femslashy. This post is 100% accurate. Of course, it’s still a 1950s musical and so it ends with a double wedding where our gals marry men, but before then, there are definitely some moments (like this, which is not the original tumblr post I saw, but that just goes to show how many super femslashy moments there are in this movie).

There’s also the scene where Calamity Jane stalks into the music hall to warn Katie to get out of town, and Katie responds by grabbing a gun and telling Calam she’ll shoot a glass out of her hand, at which point Calam hesitates, because she knows Katie doesn’t a damn thing about a gun, and Katie taunts her - “Unless you’re scared” - so Calam hoists the glass up, her face set, prepared to meet her death, and Katie shoots…

Actually this scene may be somewhat idiosyncratically appealing, possibly not the best way to sell the movie to potential femslash fans who are not necessarily into “and then they almost killed each other!” Which is apparently my benchmark for an eminently shippable couple in all gender combinations.

Admittedly, Calam is technically warning Katie out of town because Katie Stole Her Man, which probably lowers the femslashiness of it all. But there aren’t many scenes where women shoot at each other because of Friendship Betrayed, I can’t afford to be too picky.

Also, it’s super racist. I probably shouldn't have been surprised, because it's a fifties western & also the real Calamity Jane was a professional Indian fighter, but... I was still surprised.
sovay: (Viktor & Mordecai)
[personal profile] sovay
I was taking pictures of the cats.

Autolycus had opinions about the camera.



[personal profile] spatch says, "This is what I see every morning at seven-thirty!"
sovay: (Otachi: Pacific Rim)
[personal profile] sovay
In about an hour, I am going to see Howard the Duck (1986) on 70 mm at the Somerville Theatre. It's part of their second annual 70 mm & Widescreen Festival, which started this Wednesday and runs through the rest of the month; last year it offered me such superlative viewing experiences as Lord Jim (1965), Spartacus (1960), Sleeping Beauty (1959) and Tron (1982), and this year I am starting with a duck from another planet. We're meeting my parents for it. My father unironically loves Howard the Duck. He ranks it with '80's cult classics like The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (1984) and has always felt it deserved a sequel. I have not seen it since high school at the latest and have peculiarly fragmentary memories of the plot. The opening sequence is picture-clear: Howard on his home planet greeting a Playduck centerfold with "My little airbrushed beauty!" before being sucked through space and time into Cleveland, Ohio where he rescues a new wave chick from some lowlifes with the ancient martial art of "Quack Fu." She has a band. I want to say he ends up managing it. After that things start to break up. I remember that an eldritch thing possesses Jeffrey Jones—and that it happens for the decently Lovecraftian reason that it is never a bright idea to open a door at random into the deep reaches of space when you don't know what might be on the other side—but I don't remember the mechanism or the immediate consequences, except that I have the vague sense of a road trip. I remember that Chip Zien voices Howard, when I know him much better for his work in musical theater. IMDb tells me that this movie was also the first place I saw Lea Thompson and Tim Robbins. I'm really looking forward. Other films I am planning to catch on 70 mm include Wonder Woman (2017) and Cleopatra (1963), which should really be something on a big screen, as should an IB Technicolor VistaVision print of North by Northwest (1959). I am a little sorry to have missed The Dark Crystal (1982) earlier this evening, but it has been a long and stressful day. There's always the matinée repeat on Sunday if I really feel like it. In the meantime, there's a space duck.

[edit] Yeah, sorry, haters. Howard the Duck remains a really delightful sci-fi comedy. Lea Thompson makes a surprisingly credible new wave/punk frontwoman. Tim Robbins is so young and so gangly. Jeffrey Jones is no Emilio Lizardo, but he chews good scenery as the possessed scientist. There are practical effects. There is stop-motion. (There are too many fight scenes and things blowing up, but I feel this way about most movies with any action quotient.) And there is a road trip, with a pit stop at a nuclear power plant. The script is sweet and full of consciously comic-book dialogue and it plays its interspecies romance straight; the only joke that really pulled me up short was a tossed-off sex-change line which mercifully goes by fast. I can't imagine swapping out any of the actors, especially Zien. I had completely forgotten about Richard Kiley as the introductory narrator, B-movie style. I don't even think it's an enjoyably bad movie: I just like it. And I have seen perhaps the last remaining 70 mm print in the world. No regrets.

Cool Stuff Friday

Sep. 22nd, 2017 11:41 am
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

Friday has been having trouble keeping up on the blogging lately…

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Show Me Love

Sep. 22nd, 2017 06:40 am
osprey_archer: (cheers)
[personal profile] osprey_archer
Show Me Love is a 1998 Swedish movie about a 15-year-old high school outcast and her crush on one of the most popular girls in school. It sounds totally cliche when I say it like that, but it was so well done (and in 1998, too!) - particularly Agnes the outcast, who was not the sweet sad blameless wish-fulfillment victim type you often see in these things, but hurt and angry in a way that feels very real in that it sometimes leads her to do deeply horrible things.

There’s one scene in particular - Agnes’s mother insists that Agnes have a birthday party. Only one girl shows up, Viktoria, who is also on the bottom of the high school social hierarchy - in her case because she uses a wheelchair. Agnes, in a fit of rage and despair at this party that has done nothing but dramatize what a miserable unloved outcast she is, refuses to accept Viktoria’s present. “We just pretend to be friends because there’s no one else to be with. You know what the most boring thing I’ve ever done is? When you took me to that wheelchair basketball game in Karlstad,” Agnes snarls.

At which point Viktoria turns her wheelchair right around and becomes Agnes’s sworn enemy, fanning the rumors that Agnes is a lesbian - which is 100% understandable, but nonetheless horrible. In fact all the teenage characters are sometimes horrible to each other in a way that would be totally repulsive in an older person, but it so clearly grows out of the fact that they are young and self-absorbed as young people are, and don't quite understand that other people are people yet.

It makes them feel real and sad rather than just straight up awful. And they aren’t just awful: they show sweetness and ludicrous youthful daring, too, like the scene where Agnes and her crush Elin almost run away to Stockholm together on a whim. (They are a little drunk - well, in Elin’s case, a lot drunk - and have not thought this through.) They felt very raw and real.

I was honestly stunned to learn the director was a man - not just because it has none of that male-gazy ickiness I tend to associate with male-directed movies about lesbians - but just because the movie is so clear-eyed and compassionate about teenage girls, even when they’re awful, even when Elin is giving her boyfriend merry hell as she tries to figure her sexuality out.

I’m not 100% convinced Agnes & Elin will last, but I do believe that they’ll have a fantastic, fascinating, sometimes brutal time dating, and that’s all I need from a movie about young teenagers. They don’t necessarily need to have found the loves of their lives; a love for right now is just fine.
sovay: (Sovay: David Owen)
[personal profile] sovay
Even if the rest of the film were forgettable, Howard Hawks' Red River (1948) would be worth it for the climactic fight scene where Montgomery Clift and John Wayne are tragically and brutally and patriarchally beating one another's brains out and just as the audience, consisting in this case of me and [personal profile] rushthatspeaks, decides it cannot take another second of this senseless macho bullshit, Joanne Dru can't either and not only says as much, she holds both combatants at gunpoint until they cut the machismo and admit they love one another. It was a thing of beauty. ("You'd better marry that girl, Matt.") Factor in the gun-comparing scene between Clift and John Ireland and other not infrequent moments of no heterosexual explanation and the whole thing was a nice break from today's otherwise relentless grind of work, even if we weren't totally sure at the outset. It is not easy to watch a movie in the company of an active and presently tired and cranky eleven-month-old, but we managed. In other news, Fox these days is freestanding, fast-moving, can hang upside down by the knees if an adult holds them, and appears to be taking against the entire concept of pants. They like honeycake, though.

Autolycus is being heartbreakingly plaintive right now. He has a vet appointment early in the morning and it requires fasting, which is an impossible concept to explain to a cat. I let him graze all day and gave him a proper dinner at the absolute last moment, but he is attempting to convince me that, actually, in point of fact, he starved since then. We should find him some kind of special treat after the appointment, for being so brave and honest. Last night he and his sister shared in the Rosh Hashanah chicken. All cats are lunisolar.

In honor of the High Holidays, here is a post on Jewish superheroes and here is a brilliant riposte to the rather short-sighted question "How can you be Black and Jewish?"

Back to the relentless grind. At least it is almost autumn.

iPods

Sep. 21st, 2017 10:53 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Haven't been around long enough for an adult to reference the technology as something around when they were kids. That's just crazy talk -- 16 years ago, you say?

The Good Place: Season 2, Episode 1

Sep. 21st, 2017 12:32 pm
rachelmanija: (Default)
[personal profile] rachelmanija
Absolutely fantastic. Do not click on cut unless you've already seen it. The whole series is streaming on nbc.com.

Read more... )
asakiyume: (feathers on the line)
[personal profile] asakiyume
I'm doing a little bit of writing with some adult learners (there may be some high school students in this class as well)--just ten minutes or so. I don't have any pedagogical reason to believe this is beneficial, except for believing that when people have pleasant experiences doing something, then that thing becomes less daunting. In other words, maybe, if the students enjoy this time writing, they'll feel more able to tackle the sort of writing you need to do to clear the hurdles in front of them. But even if that's not the case, I think people deserve a chance and a place to try out writing, just for its own sake and their own sake. So.

My first prompt for them was this quote from Fred Rogers: "You can grow ideas in the garden of your mind," which I recalled from this autotuned song made from that and other remarks of his.

I showed them some gardens.

A garden in Holyoke, created by "self-proclaimed plant geeks":


(Source)

Randyland, the garden created by Randy Gilson, a waiter and son of a single mom, in Pittsburgh, PA:


(Source)

The magic gardens of Isaiah Zagar in Philadelphia:


(Source)

The blooming Cadillacs at the Cadillac ranch in Amarillo, Texas:


(Source is this Google image, whose original location is given as this video.)

The famous Zen garden at Ryōanji, in Kyoto, Japan:


(Source)

And I said, even when you think a place is barren, nothing growing, life pushes through, like in this parking lot in Boston:


(Source)

And then I asked them--what's growing in the garden of your mind? Several people wrote that they felt like the parking lot and talked about worries, but one wrote about a painting she's planning, and another compared his mind to a potato (and gave me a diagram to show it growing). It was wonderful.

What's growing in the garden of *your* mind, these days?

*whew*

Sep. 21st, 2017 08:55 am
oracne: turtle (Default)
[personal profile] oracne
Hurrah for hermiting!

Things I could have done on Wednesday: lunchtime free Zumba class, free Bach Collegium concert.

Things I did do on Wednesday: went straight home, ate, showered, crawled into bed with fanfiction, went to sleep early, sleeeeeeeeeeept.

I feel much better today, in the sense that fewer things hurt physically. And I realized this morning that nothing was stopping me from taking a day off tomorrow. That would mean I can sleep in after "Elizabeth Cree" tonight, and go to bed early before my crack of dawn train to NYC on Saturday morning.

What a removal of mental weight. A day off. How glorious. It will be much easier to enjoy my day in NY with a reasonable amount of sleep beforehand.
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